Shah promises nationwide Uniform Civil Code roll-out in next term | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Shah promises nationwide Uniform Civil Code roll-out in next term

By, New Delhi
May 27, 2024 07:00 AM IST

A Uniform Civil Code (UCC) for the entire country will be rolled out and efforts will also be made to implement the idea of ‘One Nation, One Election’ in the next five years, if the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is voted back to power in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, Union home minister Amit Shah has said.

A Uniform Civil Code (UCC) for the entire country will be rolled out and efforts will also be made to implement the idea of ‘One Nation, One Election’ in the next five years, if the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is voted back to power in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, Union home minister Amit Shah has said.

Union home minister Amit Shah. (ANI)
Union home minister Amit Shah. (ANI)

Shah said the ruling party at the Centre has not resorted to any religion-based campaign, but insisted that if canvassing against reservations for Muslims and over the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu & Kashmir, and promising a UCC appears religion-based, then the ruling party at the Centre has done it and will continue doing so.

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The Union minister made the remarks during an interview with news agency PTI on Saturday.

Speaking on the UCC, Shah said: “The UCC is a responsibility left to us, our Parliament and the state legislatures of our country since Independence by the makers of our Constitution. The guiding principles decided for us by the Constituent Assembly include the UCC. And even at that time, legal scholars like K M Munshi, Rajendra Babu, Ambedkar Ji had said that there should not be laws based on religion in a secular country. There should be a UCC.”

A UCC, in theory, will implement homogenous rules for marriage, divorce, inheritance, financial compensation and adoption, among others, for all communities but many activists and experts fear that this may obliterate the customs and traditions of particular communities, such as tribals, and become a proxy to target their faiths.

In February, BJP-ruled Uttarakhand enacted a law for implementation of UCC. Other states ruled by the party are expected to bring similar laws.

Shah said: “I believe that the UCC is a huge social, legal and religious reform. The law made by the Uttarakhand government should undergo social and legal scrutiny. Religious leaders should also be consulted.”

He added: “What I mean is that there should be an extensive debate on this. And (see) if there is anything to change in the model law made by the Uttarakhand government after this extensive debate… someone will definitely go to court. The judiciary’s opinion will also come. After that, the state legislatures and Parliament of the country should think seriously over this and a law must be enacted. That is why we have written in our ‘sankalp patra’ (manifesto) that the BJP aims to have a UCC for the entire country.”

Shah said that if UCC can be implemented in the entire country within the next five years, “it will be done in this period only”. “Five years are a sufficient period,” he said.

Asked about simultaneous polls, the Union minister said the government will “make every effort to achieve One Nation, One Election”. “This should also be discussed. The Prime Minister had formed the Ram Nath Kovind committee. I was also a member of it. Its report has been submitted. The time has come that elections should be held simultaneously in the country.”

On whether a bill on this can be introduced in the next session if the BJP returns to power, Shah said, “Our resolution is for five years. We will bring it during this period.”

In March, a high-level panel led by former president Ram Nath Kovind recommended simultaneous polls for Lok Sabha and state assemblies as the first step, followed by synchronised local body polls within 100 days, in its report on ‘One Nation, One Election’ submitted to President Droupadi Murmu.

Shah dismissed the Opposition’s claims that the BJP is conducting a “religion-based” campaign.

The BJP has not resorted to any religion-based campaign but if canvassing against reservation for Muslims, and reaching out to voters on the abrogation of Article 370 and implementing a UCC is considered religion-based, then the party has done it and will continue doing so, he said.

On May 1, Modi had challenged the Congress and its allies in the INDIA grouping to undertake in writing that they will never provide a religion-based quota. He also said that as long as he is alive, he will not allow anyone to “play the game of reservation”.

Amid the Opposition’s promise to scrap the Centre’s Agnipath scheme for recruitment to the armed forces, if it wins the elections, Shah said: “There cannot be a more attractive scheme for the country’s youth than Agniveer. It is a very well thought-out scheme.”

Taking a swipe at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who has been vocal on the issue, Shah said: “He (Gandhi) calls it a loot. You call the law of the country which was passed in Parliament where you yourself sit Gabbar Singh Tax. I feel pity for him. No one in the Congress party even advises him.”

Shah also spoke on the ethnic strife in Manipur since last year, saying the government is working on removing the trust deficit between the warring groups – Meiteis and Kukis – to bring lasting peace in the northeastern state and the process will be expedited with utmost priority once the Lok Sabha elections are over.

“This is not an issue of riots or terrorism. This is an issue of ethnic violence. It can’t be resolved through force. This is ethnic violence,” he said.

“We have to repair this (conflict). This is a time consuming job. We were working on it speedily. But it has been delayed due to the elections. That is quite natural,” he added.

On the high voter turnouts in Jammu & Kashmir, where polling ended on Saturday, the Union minister said: “It was a very big victory for democracy and a big success of the Narendra Modi government’s Kashmir policy, which it has been pursuing for the last 10 years. I have said in Parliament that we will give the statehood after the assembly elections.”

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